Giraffe 'kisses' dying zoo-worker goodbye

no image
No image availableNL Times

A giraffe has been pictured saying a touching last farewell to a zoo co-worker, who was dying of cancer.  The 54-year old man identified only as Mario, had his hospital bed wheeled to Rotterdam's Diergaarde Blijdorp zoo, when he was approached by the animal. "You could see him totally light up", Kees Veldboer, founder and director of Ambulance Wish Founadtion, told the Algemeen Dagblad. Mario worked nearly his entire life at Blijdorp. His last wish was to be able to say a personal goodbye to his beloved giraffes. It was a touching moment not only for Mario and the organization that helped his wish come true, Ambulance Wish Foundation, but for the giraffes as well. When Mario was wheeled into the giraffe enclosure, the animals displayed a remarkable sense of knowing that their carer was on his last legs. One of the giraffes stuck out her neck so she could give Mario a kiss goodbye. "It's very special to see that those animals recognize him, and sense he isn't doing well", Veldboer said.

Mario has a mental disability, and has done maintenance in the zoo for most of his life. He also said goodbye to all his colleagues. Thanks to the 200 volunteers and donations from the community, Ambulance Wish Foundation can grant wishes daily for the terminally ill.